It’s April already. I can’t believe the first quarter of 2019 is over. When I can, I like to sit and take stock. So I take an hour or so every few months to reflect. One reason I do this is a practical one. It’s important to assess the self-employed part of my work; that is my blog, its associated collaborations and my freelance writing. Another reason is so I can see whether I achieved what I set out to. The final reason is one of pure indulgence. I want to recall the days out, the dinners, the love, the laughter and the fun. In a world so often frenetic, I want to stop and smell the roses. Don’t get me wrong, I never need reminding how fortunate I am. I simply enjoy looking back.
My career is multi-faceted. Currently I work two weekdays plus every fourth Saturday in optometric practice. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying being back in the consulting room. The whole team is brilliant and I’m lucky to work in a very pleasant and well-equipped practice. I have just begun training to become accredited onto a MECS scheme, (Minor Eye Conditions Service). Most areas have such a scheme in place already but this is new to us. The MECS enables optometrists to see patients for a non-sight test related examination under the NHS. For example, patients who present with a red eye or flashes and floaters who would otherwise have been sent to A&E or charged privately. We are long overdue this scheme. The training comprises seven modules via distance learning, each of which is examined afterwards. The final part comprises a series of OSCEs (Objective Structured Clinical Examinations), to assess the practical skills required. I’ve always enjoyed written exams. Practical ones, less so. However, it’s simply a case of working hard and preparing thoroughly.
Another facet of my career is the regular freelance writing I do for Optometry Today and Stepper. The third part, of course, is my blog. When I do sit and evaluate my career, the question I ask myself most frequently is this: “Is it worth it?” Writing this blog I mean. Can I justify the hours I put in (and those that Ian puts in too- it takes a lot of time and effort to take the photographs). A better businesswoman than I would know the answer immediately. She’d say that it most definitely isn’t worth it. But the thing is, I love it. Still. After almost 6 years. It’s opened doors and broadened my horizons. I’ve met countless people through it, not to mention a group of amazing friends. My involvement with 100% Optical in January this year, (a career highlight), happened as a direct result of my blog. And so have so many other things. But it’s hard work and there’s no doubt it’s changing. My blog posts are less frequent and I’m including more and more about eyewear, for example. But evolution is essential for survival.
It’s just over six months ago that Ian asked me to marry him and despite our mutual excitement, we’ve only just begun to make wedding plans. But we’ve set a date and have found the most perfect venue for the wedding ceremony. The next thing to book is the reception and we have a very special place in mind. Two other certainties are that Poppy will be chief bridesmaid and Harry will “give me away.” As you can imagine, we’re all very excited; but it’s a while off yet. I’ll share more when we have more plans in place. I won’t be able to help myself!
As a family, we’d been counting down the days to Poppy’s 18th birthday for quite some time. It was tinged with a little sadness though because my brother Rick moved to New Zealand last year with his family and we didn’t think he’d be able to come. However, he messaged me at the start of the year to say that he could come, albeit alone. Our family has what is probably the busiest group chat in the world so it was a very hard secret to keep, especially because everyone in the family knew apart from Poppy. But keep it we did. I invited him and my parents for dinner and he hid in the back of their car so he could come in shortly afterwards. It was the surprise of Poppy’s life and to see her sobbing in his arms is something I’ll never forget. I’m all tearful again as I write. She is very very close to her uncle and to have him there was the best ever gift.
Her party followed two nights later and we held it at a fabulous cafe bar in Skipton. We had our closest family and family friends and Poppy’s school and work friends of course and it was awesome! She’s said a few times now that it was the best few days of her life and that makes me very happy indeed.
The next few months will be just as busy and exciting. We have a family trip to London soon to see the Lion King. Poppy will sit A-levels and Harry will sit GCSEs. They both have prom and the three of us are heading to the sunshine soon afterwards for a few days, before both children do their own bit of world travelling. Ian and I will continue making wedding plans and I’ll keep on studying, working and writing and making the most of this wonderful life.
Oh and by the way. Can you tell I love my red Self-Portrait dress? x